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For about 15 years, my best friend Jess & I had a Christmas Eve day tradition: we'd meet at the mall and bang out all of our holiday shopping together, while the place was completely empty — save us and a few hundred dads, who inevitably always turned to us for advice.
Which is why I love that today's guest post comes from the Frugal Dad. FrugalDad.com is a personal finance and coupons site striving to help everyday consumers save and spend money wisely, which also recently included Shoestring on their top blogs of 2011!
Flipping my old holiday tradition on its head, today it's Frugal Dad's turn to give us the last-minute shopping tips with these 5 easy, eco-friendly, affordable gifts for kids — and a bit more about why they totally heart Shoestring. We're totally feeling the Christmas spirit and the #bloglove today!
From Frugal Dad:
We included Shoestring in our Top Frugality Blogs of 2011 for many reasons. As we said, it "is devoted to encouraging and maintaining a healthy, cheap, and environmentally sound lifestyle." It's a great resource for anybody who loves his or her body, wallet, or planet.
So now you're into the eco- and budget-friendly lifestyle (who isn’t?) and it’s time—or maybe just past time—to grab some holiday gifts for the kids. What to do? Here are some ideas:
Half-Pint Herb Garden ($16, rompstore.com)
Pick up a small potted plant like this one at a local greenhouse or garden store and give a gift that will delight and teach responsibility and respect for the beauty of life.
Eco Anamalz ($9, earthsake.com)
Wooden toys, like these pose-able animals in particular, are made from organic maple and other renewable resources and contain only non-toxic glues and paints. They're unbelievably cute and will inspire hours of imaginative play—or they could stand guard as quirky office decorations for the "grown-up" kind of kid.
Stockmar Beeswax Stick Crayons (16 for $20, amazon.com)
Eco-friendly art supplies like this set will support your budding artist and inspire a lifetime of creativity and earth-consciousness!
New Moon Girls Subscription ($35, newmoon.com)
A new magazine subscription to a publication like this one (which provides 12 months unlimited online access + 6 bimonthly issues) can be the beginning of a great voyage of discovery for a young person. We think New Moon Girls is an especially wonderful choice with its safe, educational, and ad-free style, plus its focus on sharing artwork and building self-esteem and positive body image.
Quick, Classic Toy Crafts (free)
Homemade toys like sock puppets make a great gift for a toddler or a young child. Just search through your drawer for a goofy old pair of socks, slap on some googly eyes, add some other trinkets for features, and you've got a fun new plaything that didn't cost a dime! Remember, when you make your own gifts, the only limit is your imagination — get creative!
One last gift? Tell your family about Shoestring, of course! Here's some of what Frugal Dad thinks are the greatest parts:
Shoestring exists primarily as a website — this structure, compared to an actual print publication, is far more economically and environmentally sound and totally supports the magazine's budget- and eco-friendly vision. Not only is the site organized in an accessible and classy way, but you can also subscribe to receive highlights via email (their newsletter's called "The Gumshoe Files"), check out their Twitter feed, or keep up via Facebook.
There’s something for everyone:
Shoestring's articles cover a huge array of topics — learning how to cook healthy and inexpensive dog food, save money on theater tickets, bargain shop for vintage clothes, or tour Washington D.C for cheap! No matter what your particular interests are, Shoestring can help you do what you love and live your life in an affordable and earth-friendly way.
If there's one thing to take away from the little author blurbs after every article, it's that the whole writing team for Shoestring is made up of incredibly cool, down-to-earth people.
… and community!
It's easy to contact the team, which also includes a sister group called The Swapaholics, co-run by "Stealfinder in Chief" Melissa Massello. So if you like what Shoestring's got going on, it’s easy to get involved for yourself!